Sip Trips #105: Went By in a Blur

This past week was incredibly busy for Mrs. Sip and I. So busy, that my head is still spinning… and that’s not from all the booze consumed! Let’s get right down to it…

On Friday, we wrapped up work and immediately hit the road to Tacoma, Washington to watch comedian Christopher Titus perform at the Tacoma Comedy Club. We made it just in time for the 10:30pm show and beers were desperately needed for us weary travellers. Cousin Sip’s husband and I split a couple pitchers of Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing out of Seattle. The show was amazing, as expected. As we waited in line to meet Mr. Titus afterwards, the bar was selling pints of Budweiser for $2 and we figured, “Ah, why the hell not!”

I had also picked up a bomber of Alaskan Brewing Icy Bay IPA at a gas station en route to Tacoma, so that acted as my nightcap before grabbing a few hours of sleep and returning to Vancouver Saturday morning. I wish we didn’t have to rush the stay across the border, but with friends visiting from London, we had to be back for more fun.

morning sunglasses

After meeting up with our guests, the ladies went their way, while the gents searched for craft beer. Our first stop was at Central City’s Vancouver location. There, I paired some Chicken Strips and Fries with the brewery’s Super Stellar IPA, which made for a great combo. For dessert I ordered their Hefeweizen, bringing to mind thoughts of summer, as we wait patiently for the weather to cooperate.

Next up was a short walk to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. Here, I was able to try the Britannia Brewing Sirens Chai Saison, which was available as a guest tap. Following that, I had the Howe Sound Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale, another successful selection. Then, the night took a turn for the extreme with a round of tequila shots.

Feeling suitably buzzed, we rejoined the ladies for dinner at The Keg in Yaletown. Sitting on the restaurant’s rooftop patio, I enjoyed a pair of Caesar Diablo servings, made even better given their $5 daily special pricing.

Drinking Problem

On Monday, Ma Sip met me for lunch at Tap & Barrel in North Vancouver. Unfortunately, I was working, so was not able to imbibe as I usually would when visiting a T&B location. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my PB&J Burger, which made for a nice substitute to my traditional meal of a PB&J Sandwich during the work week. The burger was messy, but totally worth the experience.

Tuesday, we finally had a meal at the Homer Street Cafe, which is located kitty-corner to my and Mrs. Sip’s humble abode. There to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I ordered their rotisserie quarter chicken meal, which was highlighted by their chicken jus for dipping. To wash it all down, I had a trio of brews, including the Howe Sound Summer Saison, Powell Street Old Jalopy Pale Ale and Storm Black Plague Stout. For a small beer menu, they sure packed some quality selections in.

It should be noted that this week’s wrap up doesn’t even include two games of baseball, Father’s Day celebrations, a trip to the theatre and another meal with our visitors from London. Busy times, for sure.

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Beer of the Week #6 – Howe Sound Devil’s Elbow IPA

On the way home from the Sip Syndicate’s recent weekend away in Pemberton, BC, we stopped into the Howe Sound Brew Pub in Squamish for a meal. There, I was able to enjoy a pint of this favourite beer, which was the drink feature of the day.

The Devil’s Elbow IPA is an easy to find brew, with strong hop flavours and bitterness. The 6% ABV, 68 IBUs beverage is available in Howe Sound’s patented one-litre re-sealable swing top bottles, as well as on tap at a number of locations around the province.

howe-sound-devils-elbow-ipa

Named for the grade four rapid on the Elaho River, near Squamish, the beer isn’t nearly as treacherous. The moniker has also been used for Howe Sound’s Vancouver tasting room and restaurant, which is a preferred stop for the Sip Advisor.

It was great to finally visit the Squamish brew pub, after a couple years of wanting to check it out. The IPA has earned the brewery silver and bronze medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards, as well as a silver at the North American Brewing Awards.

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BC Beer Baron #351 – Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

When Mrs. Sip constructed a craft beer advent calendar for me last year, this Howe Sound Brewing beer was placed in the prime Christmas Eve spot. I have to say it performed well then and continues to hold up well as a winter season warmer.

The Father John’s Winter Ale features a unique blend of spices mixed with vanilla, molasses, honey and Demerara sugar. The 7% ABV, 17 IBUs beverage is malty and really brings the spice game to the forefront, both in taste and aroma.

Howe Sound Father John's Winter Ale

Available in the brewery’s signature one-litre bottles (complete with swing top cap), the product is good for three glasses of beer. The product can be found at BC Liquor Stores and is named for Howe Sound’s original brewer, John Mitchell.

Also on sale from Howe Sound during the Christmas shopping season is the Carton of Coal Dark Beer Variety Pack. This set includes the Pothole Filler Imperial Stout, Wee Beastie Oak Aged Scotch Ale, and Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout.

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BC Beer Baron #321 – Howe Sound Howe Sound Lager

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. With all the crazy brewing options out there, lagers sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s why the Sip Advisor is giving them their own feature week. After all, we should support and give thanks to the beers that brought many of us to this craft beer dance!

A couple months back, at the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, the Sip Alliance had a good long chat with the representatives from Howe Sound Brewing. As the evening ended, they gifted us with a few cans of this beer, which came in handy for the planned after party.

The Howe Sound Lager is a solid, refreshing beer. You know, the kind that even the pickiest of drinkers can enjoy. We all have them in our life, so pay it forward and give them a good option. With the word ‘BRILLIANT’ incorporated in the beer’s label design, the beverage has a lot to live up to, but will leave most more than satisfied.

howe-sound-lager

This Dortmund-style lager comes with stats of 5.5% ABV and 18 IBUs. It’s available in canned six-packs, including at BC Liquor Stores for the low, low price of $10.99 (before taxes and deposit). The beer was recognized with bronze medals at the 2011 and 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Kellerbier category.

The Sip Advisor finds it funny that many of us likely had our first beer in the form of a lager, but this style of brew is largely absent from the craft beer scene. Some have gone so far as to call the variety “endangered”, but hopefully that will change with time and experimentation.

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BC Beer Baron #290 – Howe Sound Pumpkineater Smoked Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Week may be over, but why not include one bonus pumpkin brew, sampled at last night’s BC Beer Awards. This tasty treat comes from Howe Sound Brewing and was among the best drinks we tried at the event.

The Pumpkineater Smoked Imperial Pumpkin Ale takes the brewery’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale and adds smoked malts to the recipe.  The 8% ABV, 19 IBUs beverage is a nice hybrid between tastes of roasted pumpkin spice and smoke on the backend.

howe-sound-pumpkineater-imperial-ale

The smoked version is only available on tap, but the original Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale is available in one-litre bottles at BC Liquor Stores and other private location. Both varieties first debuted in 2015.

Make sure to pick a bottle or pint from the patch as soon as possible. It will only be available throughout the fall and is perfect for the season, thanks to its roasted flavours and warming high alcohol content.

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BC Beer Baron #263 – Howe Sound Log Driver Juniper Rye IPA

At the recent Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, Mrs. Sip and I spent a fair bit of time at the Howe Sound Brewing station, chatting with one of their reps, while sampling this beer and others from their extensive lineup.

The Log Driver Juniper Rye IPA is an American-style India Pale Ale that is brewed using juniper berries. This gives the beverage a pine flavour, similar to what drinkers can expect when enjoying gin-based cocktails. The brew is on the lighter end of IPAs with an ABV of only 5.5%, but it does come in at a hoppy 45 IBUs.

howe-sound-log-driver-juniper-rye-ipa

The spring seasonal is available in Howe Sound’s patented 1-litre bottles, which are good for three full pints. When available, the product can be found at both BC Liquor Stores and private operations. Its run was only to last until May 31, 2016, but I’ve seen it around and tasted it in July, so it could still be out there.

The IPA is meant to salute BC’s vast and beautiful nature, as well as log drivers (the brave folks who rode logs from forest to sawmills, via water currents) from times past. The term ‘high and dry’ can be traced back to this profession and meant an unsuccessful log drive, where yields were lost for a year thanks to dried waterways and having to wait for the next snowmelt.

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BC Beer Baron #231 – Howe Sound King Heffy

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Mrs. Sip and I are huge fans of hefeweizens and witbiers. I mean, is there a better summer beer style? Let’s take a look at what BC has to offer in the field.

Always on the lookout for new and interesting hefeweizens/wheat beers (after all, they are not only among my favourite, but I can score serious points with Mrs. Sip when unearthing a new option), when I first came across this massive offering from Howe Sound Brewing, angels rejoiced and a heavenly light shined upon me.

The King Heffy is an Unfiltered Imperial Hefeweizen, featuring flavours of banana, clove and vanilla. This summer seasonal is strong (7.7% ABV) and flavourful, but also easy drinking at only 20 IBUs.

Howe Sound King Heffy

This beer is named for the King of Hefeweizens and best of all, for those summer days when you worry about running low on suds, the King Heffy comes in Howe Sound’s trademark one-litre bottles. Given its size and girth, King Heffy is a name that is well-earned.

The King Heffy has been honoured with medals from both the North American Brewing Awards (gold and silver), as well as the Canadian Brewing Awards (bronze). Sticking with wheat beers, Howe Sound also has the You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale and Whitecap Wheat Ale, among their wares.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…